According to Forbes Magazine, the Pittsburgh housing market is the top market in America. There are a variety of reasons for this coveted ranking. Pittsburgh has all the fundamentals of a marketplace that does well in both good and bad economies.
The job market is stable and diversified. Best job creators in the Pittsburgh metro area include schools, hospitals, natural gas production, and high tech relevant fields. So a catastrophe in 1 job sector does not plunge the city into chaos. The days of the old steel mills and single sector dependence are gone. Job growth has reversed, which was a decade-long trend of population loss. Now the vast majority of Western PA communities are undergoing upticks in population. The new arrivals are usually younger, well-educated, and well-compensated.
The city of Pittsburgh has been named the “Most Livable” town in America 3 times, in 2005, 2009, and 2011. A recent write-up concerning the award stated “Pittsburgh topped a list put out by British magazine The Economist, which ranked Pittsburgh No. 1 in America, and 29th worldwide. Forbes gave Pittsburgh high marks for its leisure and arts scene, job prospects, security, and low cost of living. The article also cited the town’s strong university presence with over a dozen campuses”.
From a property investor’s standpoint, the town is a gold mine. Property values have risen steadily over the last twenty years. Even if the economy dropped, the value of Pittsburgh property held stable. At the bottom point, land values were stagnant for a couple of decades.
The pillar of the local property market that attracts investors is the ease of producing positive cash flow. Compared to a lot of American MSA’s the Pittsburgh area is quite inexpensive. Median home prices are in the low $120,000 range. Add this to the solid rental marketplace and you have a formula for significant positive cash flow.
Foreign investors, hedge funds, and out-of-state investors are slow to see the value of the region. Unlike a few of the boom and bust markets that encircle when times are good, South West Pennsylvania has never been a flashy market. Investors are able to grow their property portfolios with the continuous relatively safe growth approach that makes millionaire investors.
The only downside to this otherwise perfect market is that a number of the techniques that traders rely on in other markets are largely irrelevant in Pittsburgh. Short sale experts will find very little to target in the area. Businesses that specialize in buying homes in foreclosure may perform well but not like the feeding frenzy that boom and bust cities provide.
Pittsburgh is also a region of areas. Desirable components of town excel in near proximity to war zones. The gap can be a single road. It requires a deal of local knowledge to know where to spend and what costs to pay. Many out-of-town investors have purchased in areas that they should have avoided, and done so at prices that no local would cover. So it may be a great idea to seek out a local business connection before entering this market.
The largest opportunity in the area may be for non-real real estate investors. Individuals that want to acquire a high rate of return on their retirement accounts should seriously consider looking at Pittsburgh. A steady and secure market is just the ticket for retirement accounts and IRA’s. All you need is a recognized real estate investor and a self-directed IRA custodian.
Considering investing in Philadelphia residential property? Despite news reports about a downturned housing market, there’s no better time than now to begin.
Factors to consider when choosing the best property investment opportunity include:
- How long you need to maintain the property
- What places are the best for your situation
- Whether you want to “flip” the property or develop and enhance it over time when renting to a tenant
If you intend to purchase a Philadelphia property and rent your premises, you might choose to invest in Philadelphia’s growing neighborhoods, like the Art Museum area, including the communities of Franklintown, Spring Garden, Fairmount, Brewerytown, and Francisville. These regions are enjoying a renaissance that attracts young professionals keen to raise property values.